The thick of summertime LGBTQ pride events is upon us and for all you kitty girls and muscle queens, it’s easier than ever to suit up in stylish gay garb. From casual footwear to high fashion, in both subtle and bold forms, the rainbow motif is a growing part of the wider style vernacular.
Gays do control the creative process at many fashion and apparel companies, but that has been true for decades.
The modern rainbow fixation has taken on a grander meaning, in the age of social media, anti-bullying, and calls for greater human unity, gay and non-gay. It’s graduated beyond its niche and presents an opportunity for brands and retailers to capitalize on the global LGBTQ spending power.
Most recently, Christopher Bailey integrated the six core colors of the rainbow in his last collection for Burberry, to highlight the need for inclusion and solidarity in the community, which as a group is still marginalized in many parts of the world.
Paul Smith, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, and Marc Jacobs are also fond of the multicolor theme. This year, Macy’s is planning a series of Gay Pride Month events in collaboration with special collections from brands like Michael Kors and Levi’s.
Last year, Converse launched an entire line of LGBTQ Pride footwear.
Objectively, outside of having a strong political connotation, the rainbow color spectrum is charming, cheerful, and vibrant—perfect for celebrating the inclusion of every shade, shape, and persuasion. It also jives well with the current general spirit of exuberance in fashion, itself a reflection of the global political upheaval that is ongoing.
(Somewhere) beyond the rainbow, it’s anything with shine, sparkle, and the symbolism of bursting free from convention that’s also apropos of gay pride. I myself am innately drawn to shiny things made with sequins, or glitter, or patent leather, just one reason why I follow RuPaul’s Drag Race so fervently.
For years I have saved the bits I stumble across that scream “YASSSS!” and would fit in perfectly at any gay pride event (Gay Garb on Pinterest). Here are some of my favorites, at a variety of price points:
Jaded London Silver Sequin Shorts, $79 at ASOS
Gucci Webby Rainbow Crystal Headband, $800 at Nordstrom
Gucci Oversized Clear-Frame Sunglasses with Rainbow temple tips, $305 at MR PORTER
Scotch & Soda Stripe T-Shirt in Black, $68 at Scotch & Soda (cotton-linen blend, breathable for summer!)
Valentino Rain-Resistant Rainbow Colorblock Jacket, $630
$2,100 at Neiman Marcus Last Call (not all events will be sunshine and puppies)
Tabitha Simmons Sprinkles Slide Sandal, $345 $575 at Nordstrom
YES I AM Rainbow Print speedo swimsuit, $79 at Luisaviaroma
And because Sir Paul Smith integrates the rainbow pattern so thoughtfully into his designs, some selections:
Women’s White Brush-Stripe Print Shirt, £295 at Paul Smith
Men’s Blue Checked Mid-Length Shorts, $175 at Paul Smith
Finally, a few picks from the second-hand market:
Gucci Gold Platform Rainbow Sneakers (pictured at the top), size 41.5EU, 8.5US, $1,000 at Grailed
For more gay garb ideas, check out my Pinterest board.